Tuesday, February 12, 2008

God Bless ME Damnit! - Volume 1

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This was the week of the telephone wars. I hate having to deal with creditors because they are in the business to make money, and I am not the personification of money. What’s worse is that there are a few companies out there that are screwing me, and a few of them have been screwing me for quite a while. Like most good businesses, they have been using the “Ivory Tower” approach to keep me from keeping more of my own money. The few of these that have made themselves the most impossible to get a hold of and rectify were on my radar and I just wanted to get it dealt with. Needless to say it doesn’t make your mood any better.

The very first one that I was intent on getting dealt with wasn’t exactly a creditor, but makes its money based on my credit. Experian is the credit monitoring service that always seems to be associated with any bank I try to join, or any credit card I try to get. I have the feeling that they must charge the creditors less and make their profits through extortion of some sort, because in my case, they were so wrong that it should have been easily resolved. It wasn’t, and it became a bit of a family joke over the years. I’m sure that most people would assume that it is just the case of someone that has bad credit and is pissy about it, but I have chronicled my Experian saga {knowing that somehow it would make some good info for others} and am ready to share it. Whether this is truly over or not, I don’t know but will explain that in a bit.

Over the last 10 years it has been very hard for me to get credit anyway because I am poor and I have been divorced a lot. That has been the reasoning that I have used, and figured that it made as good a reason as any. When I moved back to New Hampshire about 6 years ago other things started factoring in, that I couldn’t understand at all. I couldn’t open bank accounts for some reason, and was being kept out of the better credit unions in the area because of my credit report. Two years ago, I finally got a credit report sent to me after I failed to get into the credit union that I had wanted to again, and was shocked at what it said. Of course, here’s where the extortion comes in because YOU do not get the credit report that your creditors do in this free fashion. You get a watered down credit report with innuendo in it, but I was able to deduce a few MAJOR flaws that should have not been in there if THEY did their job. Most importantly was the fact that I had 4 social security numbers according to them. I also had several “Aliases” which included my father and my uncle.

I was furious, and took the several hours that it took to fill out their forms. I figured that the fact that these people that they had me merged with actually existed should have been reason enough to take them off of my credit report, but they obviously didn’t care. Last year I went to get my credit limit increased on my credit card with the credit union that I am a member of, and was denied. More over they took my credit card away from me because from what they deduced from my credit report, I was a fraud. The woman at the credit union was practically in tears having to tell me this because she had seen me come in every week and deposit my check, and confided in me that this happens often. She knew all of the signs of a catastrophic Experian screw up, but was impotent to do anything about it. I didn’t blame her, but I ordered another credit report which had included a few more social security numbers and an uncle that had never lived within 100 miles of me, and when he was within a hundred miles of me I was 8.

They had gone further this time, as they had my date of birth being 1939, and even put in my report that it appeared that I had credit from before I was legal age. A lot of the credit cards I had closed out on bad terms were actually closed the year before I was born. I was incensed and filled out the reports again. I have three children, no wife, a shitty job, no child support, a car that the wheels fall off, a bad back, and a credit reporting agency that is obviously out to get me. Realistically I came to the realization that I am not that important and they aren’t actually out to get me, or anyone for that matter. They simply don’t care if they get it wrong, which is a bit scarier because they are in charge of the credit worthiness of most of America. At that time I was a bit too busy working over time, and trying to get my own life in order with my sick father living with me to try to deal with all of that crap, and I was completely right at the time.

I’m sure that you all have seen the commercials on TV for Free Credit Report Dot Com, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Experian. By Federal Law {politicians create laws to look busy but never keep track of whether their laws are really being followed} the credit reporting agencies were forced to make it easier to get your credit report. They set up this site https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp so that you can “Quickly and Easily” get your credit reports and “Fight the good fight” with them. It’s a joke really because if the feds looked at it they would see that it isn’t very good. It will take you to each of the credit reporting agencies sites so that you can fill out their forms, and then they will each give you an erroneous error as to why you can’t have your report. Well I should say why you can’t have it unless you pay them for it. My battle at this time was with Experian so I went to Free Credit Report Dot Com {I don’t actually use the site url because I will NOT advertise for them} and gave them my credit card information, so that I could have my credit report.

This was infuriating to say the least. After extorting me into getting my credit report I looked at something that was amateurish at best. It had my name on it, with a string of aliases including my father and my uncle, as well as two social security numbers that I don’t recognize. It had places that not one of us have lived, and credit cards that I had cancelled many years ago that were just accumulating bounce charges. I don’t blame them for that, but will save that saga for the next blog. As it was Saturday, I couldn’t call and get any of this crap straitened out. In other states you could, but because the law in MY state doesn’t specify that they have to talk to me on a weekend they abruptly hung up on me. This gave me two days to stew over this. When Monday rolled around they wouldn’t talk to me because my credit report from Saturday didn’t have a complaint number on it and I would have to pay another 20 bucks to get a new one. I was abruptly hung up on again.

After getting my complaint number {by going through the cache in my browser … fuck them} I called them back and found no options for rectifying my problem, and was hung up on again for taking too long. I called back {this had taken me 2 hours by the way} and found a spot in the automated number pushing sequence where I could press 0. Now keep in mind that you couldn’t do that on every sequence, so I had to try it on each one, being hung up on with every one that you “couldn’t” use that on. 20 minutes later I was talking to someone, who put me on hold for someone else, who put me on hold for yet another, and another. It was precisely the amount of time that it took for my phone battery to die, but I was smart enough last year to get a cordless with two headsets. The fact that the guy was startled I was still there pissed me off to no end, and he knew it. After another half hour of explaining it to him he stated “Well obviously we have some erroneous errors on your report,” … NO SHIT! I was sent an e-mail confirmation later last night telling me that they had fixed the problems. It will cost me 20 bucks to see if they really had or not. Cancelling my Free Credit Report Dot Com account took a while too as I sat on the phone carousel, but made me feel better because I used a lot of foul language and threats when they tried to talk me out of it. Tomorrow I will hopefully find time to write about Capital One and Sprint. ;8o)

Other Crap This Weirdo Publishes... Mental Notes & Random Musings {Daily Blog} The Crow's Nest {The Homepage of J~ Crow}

Nothing that was printed here was intended to offend anyone, and if it did, screw ya, you begged for it. If you believe that there are some measures that can be taken to change me, then please feel free to pray for me, and while you are at it yourself, because you read this far, and if you hated every minute of it, then you are an idiot, not me, or the other people who like what I have to say! .. Jeremy

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